Acquisition of Hellwinkel Ranch moving forward |

Acquisition of Hellwinkel Ranch moving forward

by Scott Neuffer

A long-planned project to preserve a piece of Gardnerville history and improve public open space took a big step forward last week.

Town of Gardnerville board members voted unanimously to approve a preliminary funding agreement between the town and the Nevada Division of State Lands that would enable the purchase of 7.73 acres of the old Hellwinkel Ranch sitting between Gardnerville Elementary School and Chichester Estates.

Plans are to preserve the acreage as open space and build out the Martin Slough Linear Parkway and Flood Channel.

In 2006, approximately $307,250 in State Question No. 1 money was awarded for the trench project, which will help mitigate flood risks in the area. The preliminary funding agreement entails a new grant not to exceed $200,000 for actual purchase of the property.

“This concept started back before 2006,” Town Manager Tom Dallaire said in an e-mail. “This is a huge step toward getting the county’s dream of a pedestrian trail from Lampe Park to Minden’s Jake’s Wetland constructed.”

The remaining piece to the trail puzzle is the Ranch at Gardnerville subdivision, Dallaire said.

“This project (Hellwinkel) has been a town board priority since I was hired,” he said. “I am really excited about bringing it to closure and to start working on another great project – the flood mitigation project.

“This trench construction will remove roughly 30 properties back out of the newly created floodway, which reduces the amount of flood insurance to be paid by the people currently living in Gardnerville.”

Originally, $960,000 of State Question No. 1 money was earmarked for the purchase of the Hellwinkel place, but that amount fell through in October 2010 when Nevada lost its bonding ability.

Dallaire explained the source of the new agreement.

“Douglas County’s underspending on the Seeman Ranch in Minden freed up the Q1 funds,” Dallaire said, “plus some more projects Q1 had that were under budget, which allowed Q1 to offer the $200,000 as an award.”

The Hellwinkel property was last appraised at $440,000. The Town of Gardnerville will have to make up the difference – $240,000 – Dallaire said.

“We are trying to close as soon as possible,” he said. “Edith (Hellwinkel) needs to sign the purchase agreement with the town, then the county can continue with the boundary line adjustment review and create the property. Once the property is created, I hope to be in a position to have an agreement signed with Q1.”

Once funding is secure, Dallaire said, the town will begin the design process and perform a flood analysis.

“The purchase of the property is only the first hurdle, and we still have more hurdles to come.”